" racing against him, I felt like I was seeing the same types of moves and defenses that he uses in F1, only now they were being used against me (which was an incredibly surreal experience, btw). But the really weird thing was that some of those moves, ones that I might’ve called borderline dirty or unacceptable when seen on TV, struck me as nothing more than brilliant defending or overtaking when I was actually in the car on track next to him. He never once did anything like throw a blatant block on me, or push me off the track, or throw a ridiculously late divebomb up the inside, or anything like that, where you’d normally think about submitting an iRacing protest in an official race. Instead, it just felt like he was able to place his car on track in such a way that made it next to impossible for me to get around him... which struck me as just being really impressive racecraft. And trying to overtake him, or trying to defend against him, he’d never give an inch - which meant we had some door banging, and a couple of moments where I got pushed wide - but never in a way that made me feel he had disregarded my presence on track and closed the door in a dirty way. It was just incredibly stout defending, and incredibly precise overtaking. And because of all the little battles we had, I felt like I gained a really deep understanding of why it’s so difficult (and often frustrating) for the other guys in F1 to pass him. (Not that I’m anywhere near the level of F1 drivers, but I could still tell that it would’ve been difficult for anyone to get around him with how good some of his defenses were)
Of course, I’m not trying to defend some of the genuine errors max has made in his time in F1, like his ridiculous divebomb on Vettel, or his probably-too-late move in the braking zone against Ricciardo, etc.... he’s certainly crossed the line a few times. But I think he gets a overly bad rap for those incidents, and the majority of his moves are just really good racecraft. (Also there’s admittedly an enormous difference between the sim and real life in the amount of danger present when you’re battling that closely, which I know is a big contributing factor to how racing moves are looked at).
Anyways, not trying to sway your opinion on Max one way or the other. But I went into the first battles with him thinking I was going to be bullied and divebombed and blocked and pushed off track, and then I left the final battles a few hours later feeling awed that he had done none of that, and yet it had been even more difficult to defend/overtake against him than I had imagined. Thought you might find that interesting :)"